Are You an Innie or an Outie?

The other day, my close friend asked me a question that I don’t think I ever asked out loud, but have pretty much answered with my actions.

She asked…“Is it non-christiany to be an introvert?

As Christians, we’re called to make disciples (Matt. 28:19) and to love both God and others (Matt. 12:30-31).

But, are we called to be outgoing?

Are we supposed to wear a Lee Press On smile as we sign up for each and every pancake breakfast, small group soiree and volunteer beg & plea? Should we feel bad if our palms sweat when we think about meeting newbies or feel guilty if we’d rather skip the small talk with a crowd and opt to chew on the nitty gritty one-on-one?

I have.

I’ve plunged head-first into the buffet of extroversion just to satisfy the gnaw at my gut that if I didn’t do this or that, go here or there or talk to he or she, I would be considered unchristian-like, stuck-up or apathetic.

I battle between , “I need more ME time!” and “THEY need more ME time!”

I dibble dabble in being both an innie and an outie and when I’m in a healthy place spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally, I can Sham-WOW in either. But, when I’m not, I get caught up in the muck of my insecurities, selfishness and pride. I seek out other people’s approval, begrudge sacrifice and try to get God to like me more.  Heck, sometimes I just dig the way the Holy Holly Helper spotlight makes my face shine.

Jesus understood the healthy balance of both. 

Jesus loved fiercely, calmed crazy storms, spoke to massive crowds and knocked over a table or three. But, He also only had a handful of close friends, walked away from the crowds and the hype and had a deep understanding of the importance of solace.

 

The result of our relationship with Christ should be a life overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Mark 12:30-31) and although we may not always get it right (and I’m the Queen of Not Getting it Right), how those elements are portrayed when they are actively being lived out, depend on the beautifully unique nature of the person.

So, for all those innies out there…

Rest easy, you don’t have to go to the next potluck and jibber jabber with Sister Whozit to make Jesus love you more. I mean, it may make Sister Whozit love you more, but that’s really your call. A person can only take so much green bean casserole.

What about you? Do you have thought about being an innie or an outie?

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. As an introvert I often find that throwing myself into things that require me to interact with large amounts of people all at once to be a bit nerve wracking. For a while I was a bit concerned by this as many of the college kids I went to church with spent their summers as guidance counselors at Christian camps. I felt guilty and more than a little incompetent in my faith. However, over time I found I was also able to build strong one on one relationships with others and that being loud and proud wasn’t necessary to be a good Christian example, despite what TBN might teach.

  2. Some friends and I were JUST talking about this the other day! This is beautifully written and well-said. As an introvert, I find that I struggle less with how I should act around other Christians, and more how I should act around non-Christians. Can I really say I’m living out the Great Commission if I keep to myself when I’m in public? Can I really say I’m growing in the fruits of the spirit, which all have to do with how we interact with others, if I’m not actually interacting with others? What right do I have to share the Good News with people if I’m not even willing to share my life? These are my current struggles… Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

  3. Thanks for this post, Amanda, and well said! Introversion is so poorly understood by the masses, and I appreciate an insightful attempt to explore it. Saying that being an introvert is un-Christian would be like saying that being a redhead is un-Christian. It’s not something I chose, it’s part of the unique way God chose to make me. And you’re right– we ARE called to make disciples and to love others. And we are NOT told that there’s only one way to do those things. The best way for me to love others is simply to love genuinely– to be so filled up with God’s love that it overflows naturally through whichever personality God, in His timeless wisdom, chose for some inscrutable reason to give me. So when God’s love overflows THIS person, it is more likely to come out as one-on-one listening and practical helping, and less likely (MUCH less likely) to come out as door-knocking or organizing The Holy PomPoms Christian Cheerleader Charity. I can’t sing, and I don’t berate myself that “the only one true way” to be a true Christian is to sing loudly for all to hear. He didn’t gift me that way. But I can cook, and I will cook for you when you’re down, make biscotti for the church coffeeshop, bake extra love into my lasagna. I will raise my wooden spoon in praises to Jesus and thankfulness for the gifts God chose to give me. Just be glad I’m not singing.

  4. Hey Amanda. Great post!

    I’m definitely an introvert. This is something I struggled with for a long time. “How can I be a good Christian if I am not an extrovert?”.

    I am definitely now quite comfortable being an introvert. Each member of God’s kingdom ministers and evangelizes in our own way. With introverts, it is so much easier to provide one-on-one, quiet, considerate evangelism through conversation and friendship.

    I highly recommend the book “Introverts in the Church” by Adam S. McHugh, which I just finished reading last month. I believe it is a book every introvert and leader in the church should read. It really opened my eyes and gave me such a peace about who I am.

    Here’s the link to his blog: http://www.introvertedchurch.com/

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